Meet Ace, the speed eater. His main joy in life is eating. Doesn’t matter what. And the quicker he can eat it, the better; it means the more he can eat! He will finish his food first for the chance of vacuuming the scraps of his brothers and sisters.
As you may know, dogs that swallow their food without chewing also risk choking, gagging and stomach bloat. Bloat is a very serious and sometimes fatal condition that vets don’t know too much about. What vets DO know is the slower a dog eats, and the more dogs chew their food, the better. Our oldest Schnauzer had his stomach turn (which is a bit rare for Schnauzers) – we were able to force the stomach to flip back without surgery, but one of the scariest events I’ve ever witnessed. If you’ve ever seen someone dry heaving from too much alcohol, you’re getting the idea.
Enter the wonderful world of “slow feeder bowls”. There are several on the market and they all primarily achieve the same goal. Here’s a few from Amazon:
There are stainless steel options which I believe are more durable and easier to clean. However, I found that my goofy dog doesn’t like the sound of his tag hitting the bowl. For him, I had to use plastic and went with the Dogit Go Slow Anti-Gulping Dog Bowl. This was the closest I could find on Amazon, since it looks like our particular one is out of production:
The bowl itself is a run-of-the-mill dog bowl with anti-skid feet on the exterior. This is important if the bowl is on a hard floor. Getting the food out of the bowl is not the easiest experience for your dog (that’s the point), so sometimes they get a little bit more aggressive with the digging. Without the anti-skid, this thing would be all over the room.
The interior, however, has an almost “X” shape with protruding mounds that section off portions of food. This forces Ace to work through smaller portions one at a time, a bit like a TV dinner. The bowl is also dishwasher safe.
Ace’s first reaction to the new bowl was astonishment. I could almost see his thoughts forming as he tried to figure out why he couldn’t shovel a whole mouthful. He very quickly got the hang of it and I’ve had no issues of speed eating since.